NORMAN — When asked what it felt like to play again, Sam Bradford couldn’t hold back the smile. "Extremely gratifying,” he said, then cracked a grin. "Just to be out there with the guys. ... just the simple things like handoffs, everything out there. "So exciting.” With a spectacular comeback performance, Oklahoma’s Heisman quarterback has the Sooners smiling again, too, following Saturday’s 33-7 victory over Baylor. "To have been off as much as he has and to go out there for his first go at it and to play as well as he did, I thought he played great,” coach Bob Stoops said. "But he will only get better from this.” So much for a bum shoulder. Bradford, who suffered a third-degree separation in his throwing shoulder during the season opener, missed OU’s last three games and only resumed heavy throwing two weeks ago. The first week, his shoulder couldn’t withstand the strain. This time, it did, though not even Bradford was certain how the shoulder would respond to the rigors of an entire game. "I think that’s something we were all curious about around here,” he said. "How I would react to 3½ to 4 hours in my pads. On and off, not throwing the whole time, kind of sitting on the bench, coming back, then making some throws.” To preserve arm strength, Bradford didn’t start warming up until about 40 minutes before kickoff. But even after throwing 49 passes, tied for the second-most in his career, Bradford’s shoulder held up fine. "I felt good the way my arm responded,” said Bradford, who completed 27 passes for 389 yards and a touchdown. "The way I was able to play four quarters and the way I was able to make some throws in the fourth quarter that had some heat on them.” Bradford’s final throw of the game was one of his best: a 3-yard touchdown strike to Adron Tennell at the back of the end zone. "To get out there and make some of the throws that I made today,” Bradford said, "it really does give me confidence.” With Bradford back, the offense still wasn’t perfect. Drops plagued the first half, else Bradford might have completed 35 passes for 500 yards. The Sooners also continued to struggle in the red zone, as four drives ended with field goals. Two others were revived with third-down, roughing-the-quarterback penalties. But overall, the offense was crisper than it was in losses to Brigham Young and Miami, a positive sign as the Sooners prepare for next weekend’s showdown with Texas. Coordinator Kevin Wilson admitted the Sooners played at a faster tempo with Bradford in the no-huddle than they did with backup Landry Jones. A big reason why OU got off 99 plays, the most any Sooner offense has run since 1975. "Sam did a great job communicating,” Wilson said. "He’s a little quicker with it and that helps. "I thought he played really well. Good to have him back out there again.” Text "Sooners” to 65360 for your chance to win autographed OU memorabilia. OU news text updates from NewsOK sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts.